Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Announces Winners of the Ninth Annual National Design Awards
Third Annual National Design Week to be held Oct. 19–25
The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum will celebrate outstanding achievement in design this fall with its ninth annual National Design Awards program. Today, Cooper-Hewitt director Paul Warwick Thompson announced the winners and finalists of the 2008 National Design Awards, which recognize excellence across a variety of disciplines. The Award recipients will be honored at a gala dinner Oct. 23 at Cooper-Hewitt. Mrs. Laura Bush serves as the Honorary Patron for this year’s National Design Awards.
“The work of this year’s honorees has made a broad and powerful impact on our society,” said Thompson. “The innovations of visionaries like Google, this year’s Corporate Achievement winner, and Lifetime Achievement recipient Charles Harrison, are a testament to design’s ability to connect with a wide audience and affect all areas of daily life, from the way we work, use technology and interact with our environment.”
The 2008 National Design Awards nominations were solicited from a committee of more than 1,500 designers, educators, journalists, cultural figures and corporate leaders from every state in the nation. Designers must have at least seven years of professional experience in order to be nominated and winners are selected based on the level of excellence, innovation and public impact of their body of work. This year’s jury—a diverse group of leading design experts convened by Cooper-Hewitt—reviewed the nominations and selected a Lifetime Achievement recipient and winners and finalists in the Corporate Achievement, Design Mind, Architecture, Communications, Fashion, Interior, Landscape and Product Design categories. This is the first time the jury selected finalists in the Corporate Achievement and Design Mind categories due to the exceptional strength of this year’s nominees.
First launched at the White House in 2000 as a project of the White House Millennium Council, the National Design Awards were established to promote excellence and innovation in design. The Awards are accompanied each year by a variety of public education programs, including special events, panel discussions and workshops. The first public program is a Jury Panel May 13, during which the 2008 jurors will discuss the current state of design in America and the selection process for this year’s honorees. A Winners’ Panel will take place Oct. 21 during National Design Week.
Cooper-Hewitt’s third annual National Design Week will be held Oct. 19–25. A series of public programs celebrating design will be held at the museum and online with the People’s Design Award, which gives the public an opportunity to nominate and vote for a design of their choice by logging onto www.cooperhewitt.org. The 2008 National Design Week and the National Design Awards are sponsored by Target.
The 2008 National Design Award recipients are:
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT, CHARLES HARRISON
The Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing the work of an individual who has made a long-term contribution to the practice of design, is presented to Charles Harrison. An industrial designer at Sears, Roebuck & Company for more than three decades, Harrison has improved the quality of life for millions of Americans through the extraordinary breadth and innovation of his product designs. One of the first African Americans to enter the design field, Harrison began working for Sears in 1961 and eventually became the company’s chief designer. During his distinguished career, Harrison maintained an unwavering commitment to the needs of the average consumer, creating an astonishing 750 products—from radios and sewing machines to hair dryers— for nearly every area of the home. Among his most iconic designs are the first-of-its-kind plastic garbage can, a lighter, more durable alternative to its metal counterpart; and a redesign of the now classic View-Master. Harrison currently teaches design at Columbia College in Chicago.
CORPORATE ACHIEVEMENT, GOOGLE, INC.
The Corporate Achievement Award recognizes a corporation that uses design as a strategic tool of its mission and helps to advance the relationship between design and quality of life. The 2008 Corporate Achievement Award is presented to Google, Inc. Google has transformed the way millions of Internet users around the globe access information every day. Founded in 1998, the company has married a simple, easy-to-use interface with complex engineering, making it the leading source for news, images, and locations on the Web. The ingenuity of Google’s design is evident in the pared-down simplicity of its home page and extends to all of its products, which focus on the needs of the consumer. The company offers a new paradigm for how users navigate the world, providing unprecedented access to interactive, satellite technologies with services like Google Maps and Google Earth. Google is also recognized for rethinking conventional notions of corporate culture and the workplace. At the “Googleplex,” Google’s headquarters, creativity and play are central to the company’s philosophy and creature comforts are taken as seriously as productivity out of a belief that one cannot be had without the other. Google was featured in the 2006 “National Design Triennial.”
Finalists honored in the Corporate Achievement category are JetBlue, an airline that incorporates a strong design aesthetic into every phase of its business; and OXO, whose products combine ergonomic design with a modern aesthetic and ease everyday home tasks for the broadest spectrum of users.
DESIGN MIND, MICHAEL BIERUT
The Design Mind Award recognizes visionary individuals or firms that have affected a shift in design thinking or practice through writing, research and scholarship. The 2008 recipient is Michael Bierut, a partner at the New York design firm Pentagram. Bierut is recognized for his extraordinary body of critical writing and graphic design. His ability to articulate and deconstruct the design process has raised the level of consciousness for the field and helped spark a national dialogue. A senior critic in the graphic design program at the Yale University School of Art, Bierut is the co-editor of the “Looking Closer: Critical Writings on Graphic Design” book series (Allworth Press), and a co-founder of DesignObserver.com, a widely read blog focused on design and culture. His clients have included the New York Times, Saks Fifth Avenue, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Harley-Davidson, Princeton University, the Walt Disney Company and the New York Jets. His most recent book, “Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design,” was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2007.
Finalists in the Design Mind category are Bruce Nussbaum, assistant managing editor at BusinessWeek magazine and a leading voice in bringing the culture of design to the world of business; and Michael Sorkin, a singular voice in exploring the social context of the city in his role as academic, writer, critic and designer at Michael Sorkin Studio and director of the Graduate Urban Design Program at Architecture at the City College of New York.
ARCHITECTURE DESIGN, TOM KUNDIG
The Architecture Design Award, recognizing work in commercial, public or residential architecture, is given to Tom Kundig, a partner in the Seattle-based firm Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects. Kundig’s projects seamlessly integrate architecture and landscape, and pay uniquely meticulous attention to detail and the materials used, which are often left in their natural, raw state. His ingenuity lies in the experiential nature of his work, the use of kinetic architectural features, and the reinvention of structural elements that are often overlooked, such as doors, windows and stairs. Kundig has garnered recognition for projects ranging from small cabins to high-rises across the American West and throughout North America. In 2006, Princeton Architectural Press released “Tom Kundig: Houses,” a book that introduced Kundig’s work to an international audience. Kundig was a National Design Award finalist in this category in 2005.
The Architecture Design category also honors finalists LOT-EK, a firm led by partners Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano and noted for its inventive reuse of prefabricated objects and industrial materials; and Weiss/Manfredi, founded by Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, is recognized for its integration of architecture, art, infrastructure and landscape design.
COMMUNICATIONS DESIGN, SCOTT STOWELL
The Communications Design Award, which honors work in graphic or multimedia design, is presented to Scott Stowell. Since 1998, Stowell has been the proprietor of Open, an independent, New York–based design studio that works across a range of media, including identity systems; print design, such as advertising, packaging and publications; motion graphics; and Web design. Many of Open’s projects integrate design solutions that encompass more than one of these categories. Stowell has garnered acclaim for translating the ideas of a diverse set of clients into engaging campaigns that speak to a wide audience. Open's clients include the PBS documentary series Art:21, Bravo, GOOD magazine, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the New York Times, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Planet Green and WNYC Radio. Stowell has served as vice president of the New York Chapter of AIGA and teaches graphic design at Yale University and the School of Visual Arts.
Finalists honored in the Communications Design category are Stephen Doyle, recognized for his extraordinary body of work in graphic and editorial design for clients, including the New York Times, AIGA, Vanity Fair and Knopf; and Prologue Films, a motion graphics design company led by Kimberly and Kyle Cooper, is recognized for its innovative work in film title design.
FASHION DESIGN, RALPH RUCCI
Recognizing work in clothing, accessory or footwear design, the Fashion Design Award is presented to Ralph Rucci, who established his womenswear label, Chado Ralph Rucci, in 1994. Named after the Japanese tea ceremony, Chado embodies Rucci’s highly intricate yet restrained aesthetic, which is influenced by sources ranging from Balenciaga to Asian symbolism and abstract painters such as Cy Twombly. An ambassador for American fashion, Rucci presented his first haute couture collection in Paris in 2002, becoming one of only two Americans in history to be on the official calendar of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Both his ready-to-wear and haute couture lines distinguish themselves with their impeccable craftsmanship, luxurious fabrics and subtle embellishments. Rucci’s work has been featured in Cooper-Hewitt’s 2006 “National Design Triennial” and in retrospectives at the Costume Institute of the Kent State University Museum, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Phoenix Art Museum.
Finalists in the Fashion Design category are menswear designer Thom Browne, who is distinguished for his ability to update classic silhouettes and an aesthetic rooted in a truly American sensibility; and Zac Posen, whose refined, intricate womenswear line is recognized for its flawless construction, playfulness and wit.
INTERIOR DESIGN, ROCKWELL GROUP
The Interior Design Award, given for work in domestic, corporate, cultural or interior design, is awarded to Rockwell Group, an architecture and design firm specializing in cultural, hospitality, retail, product and set design. Founded in 1984 by David Rockwell, the firm crafts a unique narrative and an immersive environment for each project. Rockwell’s interest in theater has informed much of the firm’s work, including the W Hotel, W Union Square Hotel, and the Adour Alain Ducasse restaurant in New York; the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles; Nobu restaurants worldwide; and groundbreaking set designs for Broadway productions of “Hairspray” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Rockwell Group is currently at work on Imagination Playground, a new model for community playgrounds, designed in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation; and the interior of the new JetBlue terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Finalists in the Interior Design category are Deborah Berke & Partners, a firm specializing in mixed-use, commercial, hospitality, institutional and residential projects and recognized for its attention to detail and distinctive use of materials; and Diane Lewis, principal of Diane Lewis Architect, known for intimate and highly crafted projects for a range of private, institutional, cultural and commercial clients.
LANDSCAPE DESIGN, OLIN PARTNERSHIP
The recipient of the Landscape Design Award, which is presented for work in urban planning or park and garden design, is Olin Partnership, one of today’s leading American landscape architecture firms. The Philadelphia-based studio has been dedicated to sustainability and green design since its inception in 1976. Olin Partnership collaborates with renowned architects, planners, public agencies, corporations, institutions, development groups and foundations worldwide. Its diverse projects include public parks, civic spaces, educational and cultural institutions, and mixed-use urban developments, such as the Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture Garden at the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Gap headquarters in San Francisco, the Bryant Park restoration and reconstruction and Columbus Circle in New York, Exchange Square in London and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in collaboration with Peter Eisenman in Berlin.
The finalists honored in the Landscape Design category are Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, a multidisciplinary practice led by partners Kathryn Gustafson, Jennifer Guthrie and Shannon Nichol specializing in high-use landscapes in complex urban contexts; and Stoss Landscape Urbanism, a Boston-based studio that practices at the juncture of landscape architecture, urban design and planning.
PRODUCT DESIGN, ANTENNA DESIGN
Given for work in the design of consumer goods, technology or home and office furnishings, the 2007 Product Design Award is presented to Antenna Design. Co-founded by Sigi Moeslinger and Masamichi Udagawa in 1997, Antenna combines technological complexity with a sense of humanity. The firm’s work often blurs the line between installation and product, incorporating new media and an interactive, thought-provoking aspect to engage the user. Antenna’s projects range from public to commercial, realized to exploratory, for an international clientele, including Bloomberg L.P., Johnson & Johnson, McDonald's, Fujitsu and Microsoft. The firm designed three new fleets of subway cars and the MetroCard ticket vending machines for New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority; and the hardware and screen interface for JetBlue’s check-in kiosks nationally. Antenna has also created installations for Artists Space, Creative Time, Häagen-Dazs and the Walker Art Center; and contributed “Cherry Blossom,” a site-specific, interactive installation, to Cooper- Hewitt's 2003 “National Design Triennial.”
Finalists honored in the Product Design category are Boym Partners, a design studio led by Constantin and Laurene Boym that brings a playful, experimental approach to a range of products and environments for an international roster of companies, including Alessi, Swatch and Vitra; and New York-based designer Karim Rashid, who has created a range of products for such companies as Dirt Devil, Umbra and Method.
DESIGN PATRON, ARCHITECTURE FOR HUMANITY
The Design Patron Award, chosen each year by the Museum’s director, recognizes outstanding support and patronage within the design community. The 2007 Award honors Architecture for Humanity. Co-founded in 1999 by Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr, AFH uses design to build sustainable futures. Embracing the motto “Design Like You Give a Damn,” AFH connects those affected by global, social and humanitarian crises with a vast, international network of more than 4,000 architecture and construction professionals who provide pro bono design services to communities around the world and build essential structures such as housing, clinics and schools. AFH currently works in 26 countries on projects ranging from health centers in sub-Saharan Africa and community centers in Southeast Asia to low-income housing on the Gulf Coast of the United States. In 2007, Sinclair and Stohr launched the Open Architecture Network, a collaborative, online, open-source community dedicated to improving living conditions through access to an archive of innovative and sustainable design plans. AFH was featured in Cooper-Hewitt’s 2006 “National Design Triennial” and “Design for the Other 90%” exhibitions.
DESIGN COMMENDATION, JANNA BULLOCK
As part of the non-juried Awards, Cooper-Hewitt presents the Design Commendation to an organization or individual for their commitment to raising public awareness of design and preservation. This year’s winner is Janna Bullock, founder and chief executive of RIGroup, a real estate development company that focuses on residential, commercial and hotel properties in the United States, Europe and Russia. A native of Moscow, Bullock founded her company in 2003 and has become an advocate for sustainable design and energyefficient technologies in her building projects. Bullock is known for her commitment to excellence in the preservation and restoration of landmark architecture. One of few female real estate developers in New York City, Bullock has restored a number of historic townhouses in the City's Upper East Side and the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, an important Russian monastery located outside Moscow and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Bullock is also recognized for her support of contemporary design, both as an avid collector and committed patron of the arts, but also for innovative projects like the 2007 Russian Design Show at Ecoestate Pavlovskaya sloboda, a sustainable community in Russia featuring exemplary homes furnished with objects designed by David Adjaye, Frank Gehry, Gio Ponti, the Campana Brothers, Aranda & Lasch and others.
The 2008 jury was comprised of a diverse group of leading figures in design, including:
• Tim Brown, jury chair and chief executive officer and president, IDEO
• James Carpenter, principal, James Carpenter Design Associates
• Francisco Costa, creative director, Calvin Klein Collection for women, Calvin Klein, Inc.
• Camilo Pardo, design chief, Special Vehicles Team and Living Legends Studio, Ford Motor Company
• Mark Robbins, dean, Syracuse University School of Architecture
• Georgianna Stout, founding partner and creative director, 2x4
• Raquel Tudela, global creative director, Bloomberg L.P.
• Lauren Zalaznick, president, NBC Universal’s Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks
National Design Week
The museum will offer free admission to all visitors and provide a range of online resources celebrating design throughout National Design Week, which will take place Oct. 19 through Oct. 25. National Design Week aims to promote a better understanding of the role that design plays in all aspects of daily life. In addition to hosting a Teen Design Fair and Educator Open House, the program will reach school teachers and their students nationally, in the classroom and online at Cooper-Hewitt’s Educator Resource Center (www.educatorresourcecenter.org). The site features more than 250 lesson plans aligned to national and state standards that demonstrate how the design process can enhance the teaching of all subjects and features discussion boards that provide a forum for educators to exchange ideas.
The People’s Design Award invites the public to express their views on what constitutes good design, whether an everyday object, a design classic or an architectural landmark, from Sept. 22 through Oct. 21 at www.cooperhewitt.org. The winning design will be announced Oct. 23, at the National Design Awards Gala. In addition, the museum’s Web site now features the year-round “Design Across America” clickable map listing design-oriented events throughout the country.
The chair of the Oct. 23 gala is Richard Meier, and the vice chairs are Beth Comstock and Chris Travers, John Kamen, Ambra Medda and Craig Robins, Madeleine Rudin Johnson and W. Bruce Johnson, Nancy Novogrod, Lisa Roberts and David Seltzer.
About Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. The museum presents compelling perspectives on the impact of design on daily life through active educational programs, exhibitions and publications. Founded in 1897 by Amy, Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt—granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper—as part of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the museum has been a branch of the Smithsonian since 1967.
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